Black Canyon
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Black Canyon

Enid, Oklahoma, United States | SELF

Enid, Oklahoma, United States | SELF
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"Doc director talks ‘Crossroads’ of an Enid band"

Black Canyon performance piece debuts at deadCENTER Film Festival
Joshua Boydston
June 10th, 2011
Musicphiles surely are aware of local videographer Nathan Poppe. From his “on.” series at Oklahoma State University to his current work on “The VDub Sessions,” he has showcased Oklahoma bands


Black Canyon
Musicphiles surely are aware of local videographer Nathan Poppe. From his “on.” series at Oklahoma State University to his current work on “The VDub Sessions,” he has showcased Oklahoma bands in four to five minute segments for close to two years.

Poppe is devoting a little more time to his latest subject, making his first foray into feature films with a 40-minute rock doc playing a 6 p.m. tonight at Individual Artists of Oklahoma Gallery, 706 W. Sheridan, as part of the deadCENTER Film Festival. Individual tickets are $10.

“Black Canyon’s Crossroads for the Restless” has the Enid folk band playing the seven songs from its Civil War concept album, each in a different location in the group’s hometown relevant to the subject matter at hand (even filming in the presumed resting place of Abraham Lincoln assassin John Wilkes Booth).

From a cemetery to an abandoned drive-in theater, the four-piece shares its special story through song with unique and colorful settings for each tune.

Making his directorial debut, Poppe shared a little bit behind the production process, the things he learned from it, and how he’ll carry those things forward.

Gazette: What about doing this movie was more rewarding than the other projects you've done?

Poppe: My friends and I have been working on music projects for more than two years. Having the chance to collaborate with them on this project pushed the film to the finish line at deadCENTER.

Gazette: How'd you come to document Black Canyon in particular?

Poppe: I came to document Black Canyon because I loved the story behind its music. I'm glad I got to document the band because the way in which the songs are performed won't be replicated.

Gazette: Where did the title of the film come from?

Poppe: There was a newspaper in a hotel we filmed in. The title came from a headline on the newspaper.

Gazette: What will moviegoers/spectators take away from the film?

Poppe: I hope people think this film has interesting music, and I want people to connect to the story hidden in the songs.

Gazette: You did the filming in just 24 hours. What positive aspects came from doing it in such a short frame of time?

Poppe: Because the film was shot so quickly, we didn't worry about it being the most perfect film in the world. We set out without expectations and documented what Black Canyon had created. It provided the crew with a challenge to finish filming and move on the treacherous editing process.

Gazette: How did the band react to seeing the film for the first time?

Poppe: I remember smiles and laughter.

Gazette: What about it are you proudest of?

Poppe: The videography crew. This film wasn't made by me; it was made by two groups: my friends and Black Canyon. I am proud the two could collide and end up with this film.

Gazette: What from this experience will you continue to apply through the years with everything else you do?

Poppe: The more you involve people, the better. This was the biggest crew and the biggest filming session I've ever experienced. Remembering the importance of everyone that helped make a film possible is clutch. It's easy to get caught up and overlook a multitude of details such as lighting, audio and being hungry. I want to learn how to pay attention better; that's something I will apply to everything I do.

Gazette: Describe the Civil War in your best Sarah Palin voice.

Poppe: It was revolutionary, don’tcha know. - Oklahoma Gazette


"Band Film: Black Canyon on Stage"

On air News story:

OKLAHOMA CITY -- The crowd at VZD's club and restaurant early on a Tuesday night is pretty mellow. It's acoustic night, but Nathan Poppe is still shooting a little video. He specializes in local bands and musicians like Phil Brown who performs first, then in another group on tonight's bill, Black Canyon. "I've probably shot more than 50 local bands," says Nathan.

Nathan met Jake Morisse, the Canyon's leader, on another of his shooting gigs. Jake and another band mate Jordan Herrerra wrote a series of songs that told the story of a Civil War romance. "There are 7 songs," explains Nathan, "That tell a story about a Civil War soldier and a woman."

So they all got up early one winter morning and set out. Locations included Enid landmarks like the old Trail Drive-In, the Catholic cemetary, and the Morisse Farm. They tied it all together in a furniture store above which, legend has it, an elderly John Wilkes Boothe identified himself on his deathbed. Civil War, music, mystery, it all ties together. Nathan says, "We were trying to take an idea that we'd thought of and turn it into something instead of just letting it just fly away like a lot of other ideas do."

So here we sit at VZD's talking about DVD's, the Dead Center Film Festival, and one unique entry, filmed in one day, in one town. Band member Jake Morisse says, "It was the longes day of my life."

You won't find any Civil War battle scenes in this film even though it's sort of placed in that period, but the sound track is pretty cool.

Black Canyon's Crossroads for the Restless premieres at the Dead Center Film Festival Friday, June 9th at the IAO Gallery in OKC. - KFOR News Channel 4


"The Black Canyon singer talks tunes, fellow Okies and no air conditioning. This summer."

August 18th, 2011
Jake Morisse’s bumped all around Enid, working as a car salesman, a farmer and a bartender. But through all that, he’s been a musician, and a damn good one.

I first met him last winter when Nathan Poppe and I shot his band, which then featured his good friend Jordan Herrera, performing a themed collection of songs around their hometown. Through all that, we drank some beers and played old-school NES “Donkey Kong,” ate some of the most delicious pancakes I’ve ever tried, caught a freezing-cold sunrise and got attacked by horses. It was a great bit of fun.

Only 24, Jake’s got a great folk/country/rock songwriting career both behind and ahead of him. A revamped Black Canyon is about to release its debut album, “Battlefield Darlins,” and he’s already eyeing a horizon that’s filled with new songs. Here’s us chatting about it.

OKS: Tell me a little bit about the personnel changes you guys went through and how that affected some of the songs between when you played them for the documentary and what we have on “Battlefield Darlins.”

Morisse: That’s a big one. There were a lot of changes, obviously. As of now, me and Riley (Jantzen, ex-Mayola) are the only guys left since the documentary. Dallas Tidwell (Red City Radio) started drumming, and he’s a phenomenal drummer. Tyler Hopkins from The Nghiems is playing bass.

I love Jordan, he and I are both friends. I can say that when Jordan left, there was a time when I was angry and I was upset and I was hurt. I was upset ’cause I didn’t get to play music with my friend. Probably part of him leaving was me because I’m an intense person to deal with. I probably could’ve communicated things better. It was a tough thing. But we love each other and everything’s OK.



The music changed. I’m a very abrasive personality and have a background in country music. The new stuff I’ve been listening to is stomp-hillbilly music and that got incorporated with the Wilco and the Dawes that I love, so it’s more abrasive, honky-tonk, indie country.

I felt for the first time that there was no one else to tell me how to write my songs. Riley helped and (friend) Sam Lamb wrote a song for the record, this beautiful song that Sherree (Chamberlain) sang, but what was great was I felt free to do whatever I wanted.

It’s been a tough change. It’s been a long year with re-writing the record. It drove me nuts. But when it came out, it was a huge weight off my shoulders, and now I’m on to the next one, I guess.

OKS: What are you guys planning for the fall? Are you going to tour around or play a couple shows locally or what?

Morisse: Tyler’s going to law school, and Dallas is getting ready to tour Europe with Red City Radio. So I’ll be playing solo shows and duo shows with Riley. I am planning on doing a Midwestern tour from Sept. 30 through Oct. 8 that’ll cover Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas and Texas.

Then, when Dallas gets back, we’ll hopefully start laying down tracks for drums.

OKS: For a new album?

Morisse: Yep. Anybody who comes to the record release will hear brand-new songs we’ve been working on. I don’t want to say it’s themed, but it really kinda is.

The truth is that there’s a lot of stuff I don’t talk about or show to people. A lot of these songs are about me thinking that I drink too much or about these women that I’ll run away from. I’m trying to talk about things that I don’t want people to know, but want to talk about with these songs. I’m really excited about these new songs.



OKS: Talk a little bit about Riley’s contribution to the record. What did he do to make it what it is?

Morisse: He was a huge part of it. Riley and I have known each other since we were 17, 18 years old. We started playing music in his attic. I started writing songs because I would listen to Riley play these crazy-good folk songs.

I remember feeling like I wanted to do this and I would listen to him, trying to figure it out. A lot of my early songs are like really bad imitations of early Riley Jantzen songs. He was always there, and more than willing to give me help recording.

When we started out ,we didn’t use any click-tracks — we wanted it all to be in-time and real. I don’t want to record anything I can’t perform. Most of it was tracked in this loft studio, when the heat was unbearable.

OKS: Where is this studio?

Morisse: It’s the loft above The Felt Bird (Riley’s store in Enid, which he owns with his fiancée). Then we tracked it in Underladder Studios (owned by Justin Blaiser in Enid).

OKS: It sounds like you guys put it together pretty quickly. Was that because of the heat?

Morisse: The heat, yeah. We told ourselves after Norman Music Festival that we were going to go in and start tracking. Basically, we just went in every night and work and work, then re-work. The funny thing about this record is that the last song we recorded was “Our Wedding Song Sounded Like Marching Boots,” and I recorded that the day before we started mixing. And that was because I wasn’t happy with the song I had in place of it. So I just grabbed my ukulele and had this idea and started playing, and it just sorta came out. That’s what I liked. We had fun and we did it. It wasn’t overthought.

Don’t get me wrong: We put a lot in it. There’s a lot of cool song form in this one. Riley’s so good at saying, “This goes here, this goes here, and this is what we do, let’s do it.” Especially in practices and stuff, he’s so good at saying, “This is where the buildup needs to be; this is where the bridge needs to be.” The guy’s mind just works insanely well. He was my producer. And I wouldn’t rather do it with anybody else.

OKS: Tell me about Sherree’s role. You guys sounded pretty natural complements together, but you couldn’t have had that much time to practice.

Morisse: We hadn’t ever practiced those songs together ’til we did the video with Nathan.

Sherree’s really awesome and I didn’t expect her to be interested. I thought it’d be a long shot ’cause she’s so great and her voice would be perfect. She said “yes,” and (Riley) and I were so excited. Originally on “Bottle of Shine,” it was supposed to be both of us singing the song, but we liked her part so much that we cut everything but her voice and the guitar. It had such a beautiful ring to it, especially since it went with the story

OKS: Has it got you thinking about working with other artists around here?

Morisse: Yeah, I’m trying to do some stuff with Cody Ingram. We’ve talked about it. I just want to work with other people. I love collaborations — I think it’s so awesome that we can do that since such cool music comes out of it.
- Oklahoma Gazette


"Looking for some locally grown alt-country?"

The subject of budding Okie videographer Nathan Poppe’s debut documentary, the foot-stomping Enid alt-country dudes in Black Canyon released their debut record “Battlefield Darlins” on Bandcamp.com last month, and — happy surprise! — they recruited Sherree Chamberlain to guest as the gal in this musical romance.

Chamberlain appears on three of the seven tracks which combine to tell a Civil War coming-of-age and love story written by Black Canyon front man Jake Morisse.


Rich with his guttural twang, elegiac piano arrangements and former Mayola singer Riley Jantzen’s gazillion different instrumental contributions, “Battlefield Darlins” is one of the strongest country-rock offerings this state’s seen in a while, fraught with bloody war drama, plaintive rural imagery and plenty of lyrics about moonshine and dancing. Just wait ’til Jantzen’s trumpet fills the air with sorrow on “Letters of Blood, Banjos of Hope” — you’ll get the chills.

And there just isn’t enough praise for Chamberlain’s work on this album.

Somewhere between doleful and stoic, she sings the heart of a woman fearful and hopeful for her beau’s safe return from war into her arms.

Mark your calendar for the disc’s official release show on Aug. 19 at VZD’s.

Choctaw folker Ryan Lawson and Blue Valley Farmer are billed to open. —Matt Carney

- Oklahoma Gazette


Discography

Met Her at the HiLo - Single (2011)
Battlefield Darlins - Album (2011)

All streams at blackcanyon.bandcamp.com and social networking sites

Receives radio play on indie internet stations and podcasts. Most heavily is on thespyfm.com

Photos

Bio

Formed by Jake Morisse and Jordan Herrera in Aug. of 2010 Black Canyon has become a project that would hope to abolish the pride and arrogance held by the idea in being in a band or a musician. The idea of a band and the crowd being separate is just not on the agenda for Black Canyon. Sadly, Jordan Hererra had to leave the band due to a new job and his pursuit of his musical education. Before Jordan had left Black Canyon had a documentary (Black Canyon's: Crossroads for the Restless) shot about the concept album they had just finished writing by the music videographer, Nathan Poppe (VDub Sessions). The film was an official selection of deadCENTER film festival premiering along side the new Kings of Leon documentary and "Page One" the New York times documentary. Jake has continued on with a band consisting of Riley Jantzen (Mayola) Tyler Hopkins (Analog Heartbreak, The Ngheims) and Dallas Tidwell (Red City Radio) and has released the civil war concept album “Battlefield Darlins” in the summer of 2011 and the newest single "Met Her at the HiLo" is the Fall of 2011 and has begun solo tours of the US.